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Connecticut to Ramp-Up Racial Profiling Reporting Following Justice Dept. Report

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things are about to change in Connecticut.

Following the Justice Department’s discovery of a pattern of discrimination in one town, law enforcement officials have announced they will ramp up efforts to crack down on racial profiling, Fox News Latino reports.

Police Departments are supposed to track potential racial profiling by officers based on a 1999 law, but for years, says FOX, many departments in Connecticut did not submit reports.

Now, Connecticut officials are promising to ramp up enforcement following the recent release of details of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found discrimination against Latino residents by East Haven Police.

The governor, Dannel P. Malloy, said he is directing his staff to collect required traffic stop data including the race and ethnicity of those pulled over, then submit that to “an appropriate outside evaluator” to analyze. Only one such report has been done in 10 years in Connecticut.

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At FBI, Hope for Injured Soldiers Returning Home

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It was an IED that did it for Povas Miknaitis.

After an initial deployment to Iraq in 2008, he was later sent to Afghanistan as a Marine rifleman. In Afghanistan, an IED blast sent shrapnel flying; some hit his arm and abdomen; larger pieces struck his face, shattering his jaw and blowing his right ear clean off of his head.

“Part of my mouth was missing,”  Miknaitis tells ticklethewire.com. “It just broke my jaw completely.”

It was in a hospital, recovering from the blast in 2009, that Miknaitis heard about an FBI training program for injured soldiers called Wounded Warriors. He began filling out paperwork and initiating the process of joining the bureau’s Wounded Warriors internship program. In 2011, when the program was launched, he landed a spot in a program that seems to be taking off.

So far, so good.

Of the 21 soldiers who have completed various internships, two have been hired full time; one as a clerk and another in IT. Another 43 are currently serving as interns, 78 are being processed and more are in line pending a funding evaluation, says FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson. Interns work in a variety of capacities, from logistics, intelligence, investigations to computer- and technology-focused jobs.

“Our goal is to give them working experience and the clearances they need,” to get back to work, says Thoreson. “We think this is a really wonderful program. It’s really helping people get their lives back.”

The San Diego field office, where Miknaitis interned, is among the few offices that are participating in the program. Others include the Washington Field Office, Sacramento, Charlotte and the FBI’s International Operations Division, Operational Technology Division, and Laboratory.

As expected, landing a spot with the FBI — even a temporary one — requires an intensive background check.

“This was not the same background check I went through for the military,” says Miknaitis. Agents called friends and family of his. “I had relatives calling me from Chicago asking if I was okay, saying the FBI had called asking questions about me,” he recollects.

Once Miknaitis was cleared, he began he began an internship researching cases for ongoing FBI investigations. “I was always interested in law enforcement,” he says, “and the internship program really let me learn a lot more about it. It got me employed while I was still recovering.”

Miknaitis still spends much of his time at a San Diego hospital. “It takes a while to go through the treatment, for the doctors to make sure they have done absolutely everything they can,” he says.

The program had its genesis in November of 2009, when president Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518. That order focused on employing veterans in the federal government. The following July, president Obama signed Executive Order 13548, which focused on increasing the number of federal employee hires with disabilities.

As for Miknaitis, he’s grateful for the experience, but learned that the FBI might not be for him.

“I want to be able to go home and talk about my work,” he says, “not to have to say, ‘well, I really can’t talk about that honey, that’s classified information.”

After much physical therapy and plastic surgery, Miknaitis is doing well and poised to begin school in the fall, possibly for sports medicine, he says.

“I actually got pretty lucky,” he says. “If you saw my face and my body after the injury, you would not think I would have come out looking this good afterword.” He remains deaf in his right ear, but he and his doctors have spoken about cochlear implants in the future.

More than 47,000 soldiers have been injured in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

 

FBI Investigates ‘Non-Hazardous’ Powder Sent to Florida Prosecutor’s Office

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The return of the Anthrax it was not.

Still, three people reported falling ill on Tuesday after being exposed to a “suspicious” powder in the mail room of the State Attorney’s Office in West Palm Beach office, a city spokesman told CNN. Now the FBI is investigating the incident.

The powder was not hazardous, according to initial reports, but the bureau will continue to investigate, Margaret Williams of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service told CNN. And even though the powder doesn’t seem to be hazardous, two of the three workers sent to the hospital complained of headache, nausea and vomiting, Scott said. Additionally, a firefighter responding to the incident was hospitalized for cardiac problems. Because he was equipped with an air tank, it is uncertain what specifically the causes of the cardiac problems were attributable to.

In the post 9-11 era, mail goes through detector systems at the post office to check for biological agents like anthrax.  No anthrax has been found in the mail since 2001 when five people died and 17 were sickened.

To read more click here.

FBI Says Man Threatened to Kill Jews and Blacks

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Abraham Foxman, the leader of the Anti-Defamation League leader, may have been targeted by a white supremacist planning to kill Jews and blacks, the FBI said, according to the Jewish news website JTA.

Danny Lee Warner, 33, told his wife about the plan before being arrested on Dec. 28 outside of an Arizona McDonald’s, according to the website. Warner’s wife had received a letter postmarked Dec. 19 from Warner saying he planned to kill “niggers and Jews” until the government “stopped him,” the report says.

His wife and his internet browser indicated  he may have possibly been planning a trip to New York to target  the ADL’s Foxman,  police say. Warner had also been a leader of the white supremacist group the Silent Aryan Warriors during a 10-year stint in the Utan prison system, law enforcement officials said.

To read more click here.

 

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Gets Rare ‘Red State’ Endorsement

doj photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder, a favorite target of Congressional Republicans in the wake of the Fast and Furious debacle in which ATF officials let guns “walk” from Southwestern dealers in the US to drug cartels in Mexico, is getting a rare endorsement from a prominent official in Utah–“perhaps the reddest of Republican-red states”–the website Main Justice reports.

“To come all the way out here to a red state and speak to us on a big occasion, I think it’s huge,” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Holder is expected to give the keynote address at the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission’s annual launch in Salt Lake City.

Shurtleff has been a vocal supporter of Holder, co-authoring an editorial in the Arizona Republic in November with former Utah AG Terry Goddard which argued, as Holder did before Congress, that Congress has failed to give the Justice Department the tools and funding needed to stop the flow of guns across the border, Main Justice reported.

Still, other state Republicans are as unhappy about Holder’s appearance as some might expect. The Attorney General “needs to be held responsible for the ‘Fast and Furious’ debacle and should be immediately removed from office,” State Rep. Carl Wimmer said. “…The man has no right to be in the position he is in,” he said.

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ATF Agent Was Likely Killed by Friendly Fire, NY Daily News Reports

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sadly, investigators believe the off-duty ATF agent who was shot and killed while struggling with a robbery suspect last Saturday at a Long Island pharmacy, was likely shot by friendly fire from a retired Nassau County police lieutenant, the New York Daily News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The paper reported that agent John Capano, 51, was picking up cancer medicine for his father at Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford when he ran into a robbery in progress.

It was New Year’s Eve day, and Capano had planned to spend the evening with his wife, two children and father, the Daily News reported. His mother had just died of cancer two weeks before.

FBI and ATF are running ballistics tests, the paper reported, but investigators’ working theory is that Capano was killed by friendly fire.

To read the full story click here.

 

Three Arrested, One at Large in Illegal Stem Cell “Cure” Scheme

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Three men were arrested in the past ten days for a scheme that involved exploiting the last hopes of the terminally ill, according to a Reuters report.

The three men —  and a fourth still being pursued by the FBI — were accused of scheming to market stem cells, unapproved by the FDA, as miracle cures for the desperate and terminally ill.

The arrests come after two indictments were issued in November charging the four with 39 counts of mail fraud and the unlawful manufacture, distribution and sale of unapproved stem cell procedures, according to Reuters.

Vincent Dammai, 40, has been identified as a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina; Francisco Morales, 52, is accused of falsely claiming to be a medical doctor while operating a clinic in Texas specializing in stem cell treatment for “incurable diseases”; Alberto Ramon, a 48-year-old also from Texas, is a licensed midwife who is accused of obtaining umbilical cord blood to create stem cells from patients.

The fourth charged is Lawrence Stowe, 58, of Dallas, Texas. Stowe remains at large, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

To read more click here.

FBI, ATF Join Abortion Clinic Arson Investigation in Fla.

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are looking into a suspicious early-Sunday blaze at a Florida abortion clinic which has seen violence in the past, reports the Associated Press.

The fire occurred at American Family Planning in the panhandle town of Pensacola, Fla. this weekend and  largely destroyed the two-story building, but no people were injured, Lt. Kevin Fiedor of the state fire marshal’s office told the AP.

The ATF and the FBI plan to join the investigation, Fiedor said. It is unknown what started the fire, which began in dry vegetation around the outside of the building. It burned underneath the building, spreading up its sides and into the attic.

“It burned for a prolonged period of time,” Fiedor said. “It was a very foggy night and the smoke blended in well with the fog.”

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